Ulysses References

Like the mom who sneaks vegetables into brownies, I have embedded references to Ulysses throughout The Sixteenth of June. Did I do this to get you to read Joyce? Did I do this as a parlor trick? No. Honestly, I did it because it was fun.

Please note that the following list of lines from Ulysses might not be complete, as much of the Joyce snuck in when I wasn’t looking.  Quotations refer to the Vintage international unabridged edition.


“A razor and mirror lay crossed”

One: Calypso

Leo’s actions mimic Leopold Bloom’s: cooking breakfast, putting toast and tea on a dented tray, being interrupted by cat, bathroom scene with newspaper, etc.

  • “[They] ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowl”
  • “They understand what we say better than we understand them”

Two: Nestor

In Greek mythology, Nestor is a source of wisdom. I wanted to play with modern notions of counsel by setting this scene on the proverbial couch.

  • “You were not born to be a teacher”
  • “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” (appears modified)

Three: Proteus

  • “Tuesday will be the longest day”
  • “Who ever anywhere will read these written words?” (appears modified)

Four: Telemachus

  • “Etiquette is etiquette”
  • “I should make a collection of his sayings”

Five: Lotus Eaters

  • “Couldn’t ask him at a funeral, though”
  • “Talk: as if that would mend matters”
  • “Too hot to quarrel. Lethargy. Flowers of idleness”
  • “No roses without thorns”

Six: Hades

Bodies buried underground; decomposing

  • “She’s better where she is, he said kindly”
  • “Of course the cells or whatever they go on living.”

Seven: Aeolus

Wind; keys; newspaper headlines

  • “It’s the ads that sell a paper”
  • “How quickly [she] does that job. Practice makes perfect. Seems to see with her fingers”

Eight: Lestrygonians

  • “Funeral was this morning”
  • “Happy. Happier then.”
  • “May as well get her sympathy”

Nine: Scylla and Charybdis

Hamlet reference; court stenographer’s dialogue; image of June fishing by the bubbling pools

  • “Be careful what you wish for, he wanted to tell her. It gets granted in middle age.”
  • “The mocker is never taken seriously when he is most serious.”
  • “The beautiful ineffectual dreamer who comes to grief against hard facts” (from Goethe originally)

Ten: Wandering Rocks

There are 19 scenes/encounters in this chapter, just as in Ulysses

  • “Spat a silent jet of juice arching from his mouth”
  • Hoof and mouth disease/cattle updated as E. coli outbreaks
  • Man typing date at typewriter: 16 June 2004
  • “Child born every minute somewhere”

Eleven: Sirens

  • “It soared, a bird, it held its flight.”

Twelve: Cyclops

  • “The mortgagee can’t recover on the policy”
  • “Assurances were given that the matter would be attended to”
  • “Heart as big as a lion”
  • “Persecution. All the history of the world is full of it”
  • “There’s no one as blind as the fellow who won’t see.”

Thirteen: Nausicaa

  • “The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its mysterious embrace.”
  • “Here was that of which she had so often dreamed.”
  • “No one would have thought the end was so near.”

Fourteen: Oxen of the Sun

[Web musings instead of language musings]

  • “A shaven space of lawn one soft May evening […] purple and white, fragrant slender spectators of the game” (appears modified)
  • “The greatest power for happiness upon the earth”
  • “The end comes suddenly”
  • “If you fall don’t wait to get up”

Fifteen: Circe

  • “The green-eyed monster”
  • “Lapped them up like champagne”
  • “The noble art of self-pretense”
  • “In an oatmeal sporting suit […] a spring of woodbine for the lapel”

Sixteen: Eumaeus

Outcast/imposter/exile: image of coming in from the ocean in rags, dragging seaweed

  • “People could put up with being bitten by a wolf but what properly riled them up was a bite from a sheep”
  • “Alleging misconduct with professional golfer”
  • “Lean on me”

Seventeen: Ithaca

Catechism is reconfigured as FAQs

  • “To have sustained no positive loss. To have brought a positive gain to others.”
  • “The minor is proved by the major”
  • “The way to daughter is through the mother, he thinks. The way to mother through daughter.”

Eighteen: Penelope

  • “No fool like an old fool”
  • Everybody has their own troubles
  • “It must be real love if a man gives up his life for her” (appears modified)